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Lawrence G. Walters
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Lawrence Walters’s Answers

255 total


  • Is it legal to run this website.

    Want to open a website thats a mix between a raffle and lottery. Wanted to speak to an attorney, can make a one time payment.

    Lawrence’s Answer

    Commercial, online raffles or lotteries are likely illegal in every state, absent an online gambling license. Such licenses only exist in 3 states, and are difficult (and expensive) to obtain. Offering a game of skill may be an alternative in certain states, but the game must be a true game of skill to qualify. A federal court of appeal ruled poker was NOT be a game of skill, even though many poker players would disagree. Consult with an experienced gaming attorney before considering the launch of a website involving gaming or gambling.

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  • I will be running a lottery system on my website where the (nth) person to like/share a post gets ($ x). is a license required?

    website lottery..players do not have to pay any money

    Lawrence’s Answer

    This does not sound like a lottery, since there is no consideration (i.e., payment) required to win the prize. Gambling or a lottery requires 3 elements; prize, chance, and consideration. Eliminate one, and you're no longer dealing with a lottery. However, you may be operating a 'sweepstakes' if you are trying to promote another product or service by this prize give away. Sweepstakes law is tricky, and you should consult with a sweepstakes lawyer licensed in your state before launching any game promotion of this type.

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  • A company that says my domain name is trademarked won't let me sell it or use it for anything other than promoting their service

    I bought a domain name 4 years ago, and now I'd like to sell it. However a company (with a completely different name) says my domain is using their trademark and I can't sell it, or use it for anything other than promoting their service. They we...

    Lawrence’s Answer

    Be very careful before selling a domain when you've been put on notice of a trademark infringement issue. The sale could end up being a huge problem, if the buyer can show that you knew the name was potentially infringing and sold it anyway. They could claim fraud if you failed to disclose this problem. Offering to sell it to the party who owns the trademark rights is also a problem, and can be evidence of bad faith registration. Cybersquatters often try to extort money from trademark holders. If the company that contacted you has a valid trademark to the name, it is not required to pay you anything. Get with an intellectual property attorney quickly to review your legal position.

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  • Can I file a DMCA Takedown Notice to have an unauthorized photo of me removed from a site?

    There is a photo of me that has been put on a website that I would like taken down. I did not authorize the photographer to take it nor for them to put it on the site. Is it possible to file a DMCA Takedown Notice with the ISP to have the photo re...

    Lawrence’s Answer

    Yes. That is what the DMCA is designed to address. DMCA notices are submitted to the online service provider, not the actual source of the infringing content. So you can send it to the host, billing company, or any entity providing services to the site publishing the infringing work. Sometimes, the site, itself, is an online service provider if it is operating as a user generated content site. Recently, I launched a mobile application to allow copyright holders an easy way to generate legally-compliant DMCA notices. The app can be accessed at www.QuickDMCA.com. Make sure you are the legal copyright holder before submitting a DMCA notice.

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  • Do I need a lawyer to create documentation for an online dating website?

    I have, what I feel to be a good online dating website idea. I am not sure if I need to get any documentation from a lawyer to cover myself in case anything were to ever go wrong during a date that the website helped set up. I am new to the dating...

    Lawrence’s Answer

    Online dating sites are unique, and raise special legal issues. Things like DMCA Safe Harbor, Section 230 immunity, Section 2257 compliance, FTC deceptive trade practice concerns, to name a few. You'll also need to draft user agreements, privacy policies, refund policies, and acceptable use policies. Finally you should register your copyrights and trademarks. My site; www.onlinedatinglaw.com, offers some basic information.

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  • What to start a business in Delaware completely online but I live in California. Would I still pay California taxes?

    I am a programmer. I would only sell online and the products would be distributed digitally. I would be programming at my residence in California though. In this case would there be any benefit to registering a business in Delaware?

    Lawrence’s Answer

    Typically, the state of incorporation will have little impact on state level taxation. The question is where are you conducting business and earning revenue? Online businesses have the ability to do business in every state, so the analysis is complicated. Some states also tax internet sales and services. Any tax issue should be evaluated by a CPA or tax attorney, but it won't drive the choice for your state of incorporation. Other issues such as the level of privacy afforded to your corporate records can vary from state to state.

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  • Does an Art Gallery open to the public have to post a notice if the art shown is sexually explicit?

    I was wondering if an art gallery needed to post a notice about the art in a show, if young people could walk in and view sexually explicit art?

    Lawrence’s Answer

    There are often state-level prohibitions on displaying 'harmful' materials to minors. The determination whether something is harmful involves a specific legal evaluation patterned after the Miller Test for obscenity. Mere nudity or erotic suggestion will not automatically trigger a finding that the material is harmful to minors. In addition, even sexually explicit content can be legally displayed to minors unless it lacks serious artistic value, with respect to minors. Often explicit public displays will include warning notices out of a sense of societal decency, not based on a specific law requiring that they do so.

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  • Can a lawyer help me write terms and acceptance for a website? Or have any experience with law and websites.

    Im looking for a lawyer who can write terms and acceptance and other documents such as return policies and user agreements.

    Lawrence’s Answer

    Yes, Internet lawyers commonly do this work. Typically, you will need at least a set of user terms (including refund / billing policies), a privacy policy, an acceptable use policy, DMCA policies, and perhaps an affiliate agreement. Other online terms or disclosures will depend on the specific business model you are operating.

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  • Is it legal to film and sell internet pornography in the state of Wisconsin?

    The content would be filmed in a private, personal residence and the content would be sold on line.

    Lawrence’s Answer

    Yes, so long as its not obscene. There are some federal regulations, as well. See my legal guide here; http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/adult-website-law-tips-for-safely-operating-an-adult-website

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  • What can I do if the registrar and webhost ignore a DMCA Takedown Notice?

    I sent a detailed, signed, notarized DMCA Takedown notice to the registrar, IP/DNS masking service, and webhost of a website that is stealing massive amounts of content and republishing it on his website. This person has a DMCA link on his site, ...

    Lawrence’s Answer

    The DMCA is a US law. Foreign sites often do not abide by this US law. There are circumstances where foreign sites can be held liable for copyright infringement if DMCA notices are not honored. Google the 'oron' case in Nevada. An attorney will be required to pursue this further and it could get expensive.

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